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Publication numberUS3851939 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 3, 1974
Filing dateNov 5, 1973
Priority dateNov 5, 1973
Publication numberUS 3851939 A, US 3851939A, US-A-3851939, US3851939 A, US3851939A
InventorsL Benasutti, R Reid
Original AssigneeGen Motors Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cabinet sliding panel and tracking arrangement
US 3851939 A
Abstract
A sliding panel assembly for closing a refrigerator door exterior service area having a through-the-door ice or juice dispensing means in the area. One of a pair of plastic panels is fixed while the movable panel assumes a closed position in side-by-side relationship with the fixed panel with the panel faces substantially flush with the door outer shell to present an overall flush appearance. The movable panel has an inwardly offset side flange having inner follower means for travel in first pitched guide track grooves provided with offset end portions while the outer edge of the movable panel has follower means movable in second substantially linear guide track grooves whereby the movable panel is slidable to a position behind the fixed panel.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Benasutti et a1.

[ CABINET SLIDING PANEL AND TRACKING ARRANGEMENT [21] Appl. No.: 412,592

[ 1 Dec.3,i974

2,992,460 7/l96l Hentges 49/[30 Primary Examiner-James C. Mitchell Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Frederick M. Ritchie [5 7 ABSTRACT A sliding panel assembly for closing a refrigerator door exterior service area having a through-the-door ice or juice dispensing means in the area. One of a pair of plastic panels is fixed while the movable panel assumes a closed position in side-by-side relationship with the fixed panel with the panel faces substantially [52] us. C1. 312/138 R, 49/127, 49/130, flush with h r outer h ll to pre nt an overall 312/ 1 16, 312/ 138 A, 312/350 flush appearance. The movable panel has an inwardly [51] Int. Cl. A47f 3/00 Offset Side flange ng nn f w r means for [58] Field of Search 49/125, 127, 128, 130; travel in irst pitched guide track grooves provided 312/138 R, 138 A, 214, 116, 350 with offset end portions while the outer edge of the movable panel has follower means movable in second [56] References Cit d substantially linear guide track grooves whereby the UNITED STATES PATENTS movable panel is slidable to a position behind the fixed panel. 2,545,749 3/l95l Pusch 312/116 X 2,899,252 8/1959 Rolfe 312/138 R 3 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures l w g] fly PATENTEL DEC 3 74 sum 2 OF 2 CABINET SLIDING PANEL AND TRACKING ARRANGEMENT This invention relates to a cabinet sliding panel assembly and more particularly to a sliding panel for providing access to a recessed through-the-door service area in a refrigerator door.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a sliding panel assembly for providing access to a through-the-doorservice'area in a refrigerator cabinet or the like including a pair of panels, one of which is slidable such that the panels are positioned in side-byside relationship so as to provide a smooth and uninterrupted appearance with the refrigerator door outer shell when the panel is in its closed position; and means for guiding followers on the slidable panel rearwardly and behind the fixed panel by means of first track grooves outwardly and rearwardly pitched from inner offset end portions and second track grooves substantially aligned with the offset portions of the first track grooves.

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description,

reference being had to the accompanying drawings wherein a preferred embodiment of the present invention is clearly shown.

In the Drawings:

FIG. I is a perspective view of a refrigerator cabinet the line 33 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view of the door top plate taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken on the line 5-5 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged sectional view of the panel door lower support taken on the line 66 of FIG. 2.

Referring now to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. I a refrigerator cabinet 10 having an upper freezer compartment closed by an upper insulated access door 11 and a lower fresh food compartment closed by a lower insulated access door 12. While it is understood that the instant invention may be used on different door or cabinet structures, the disclosed doors are of the wing" design disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,314,196 issued Apr. 18, I967, to the same assignee as the present invention, wherein one or both of the left and right hand structural side members 13 and 14 respectively, are shaped to serve as a handle for opening the door. The lower access door 12 includes an outer shell or wall 16 having a recessed compartment or service area 18 therein which in the disclosed form provides a combined through-the-door ice cube, water and beverage concentrate dispensing area such that a suitable receptacle such as glass 20 may be positioned on the shelf of the service area for receiving ice cubes by depressing actuator 21 and either chilled water or a beverage concentrate by depressing suitable button 22. The ice cube dispensing portion of the service area is shown and described in copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 309,935 now US. Pat. No. 3,789,620 assigned to the assignee of the instant application, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein.

As seen in FIG. 2, the service area I8 has a rectangular configuration and extends from the left hand side member 13 of the lower refrigerator door 12 to a point approximately midway between the side members 13 and 14 of the door. The service area 18 is bounded on its upper end by a laterally extending door top plate 30 including upper rail member 32 which caps the upper edge of the lower door 12. The lower boundary of the service area 18 is defined by a lower rail member 34 coextensive with the upper rail member 32 and parallel therewith.

With reference to FIG. 1, a panel assembly is shown including a pair of rectangular panels 36' and 38 which are mounted between the upper and lower rail members 32 and 34. The first fixed panel 36 is located on the right hand side of the door while the second panel 38 is movably positioned in side-by-side relationship with the first fixed panel 36 and is operative for closing the service area 1 8 by moving the second sliding panel I 38 from its open position underlying the fixed panel 36 to its closed position of FIG. 2 where panel 38 is located substantially flush with the outer shell 16 of the refrigerator door. In the preferred embodiment the first and second panels are formed of plastic material such as Plexiglas having a thickness of the order of 0.125 inches and appropriately colored such as by a bronze tint.

The track configuration on the upper and lower rails are formed in an identical mirror imagemanner for supporting the movable panel 38 and accordingly only the track configuration of the upper rail 32 will be described in detail. As seen in FIG. 3, integral groove means 40 are provided on the undersurface of the upper rail 32 for retaining the upper edge of the right hand plastic panel 36, with a matching groove on lower rail 34, such that panel 36 is held in fixed relation adjacent the front edge of the rail members. The track configuration includes first and second upper track grooves indicated at 42 and 44 respectively, in FIG. 3.

Inner 52 and outer 54 pairs of pins are carried on the upper and lower edges of the left hand movable panel 38 and adjacent the end thereof are adapted for sliding movement in the first 42 and second 44 tracks, respectively, by means of pins 52 and 54. As seen in FIG. 2, the stems 55 of outer pins 54 are positioned atthe top and bottom of the movable panel 38 and adjacent the outer edge 57 thereof with their stem portion 55 positioned in apertures or bores in the panel allowing their enlarged heads to be received in the upper and lower second tracks 44 for sliding movement therein. The panel 38, which is shown outwardly curved in FIG. 5 to conform with shell 16, has a thickened peripheral edge strip 58 including corner blocks 59 on the inner face thereof providing bores for mounting the stems 55 of the pins therein.

As best seen in FIG. 5, the movable panel 38 is provided with an inwardly offset integral flange 60 located at its inner vertical edge 62 and coextensive therewith. In the disclosed form the offset flange 60 has a thick in thickness such that the overall front to back dimension of panel 38 is about 0.250 inches. The inner pins 52 are similarly located adjacent the free edge 56 of the offset flange 60 with their shank portions inserted in integrally molded bores in the vertical edge strip65 of flange 60 with the heads of the pins dimensioned to be slidably received in the upper and lower first tracks 42.

As seen in FIG. 3, the first upper main track 42 has a diagonal or dog-leg end portion 66 forming an angle of about 45 with the closed offset flange 60 and forwardly offset portion 67 substantially parallel to the closed position of offset flange 60. It will be noted that the second track groove 44 extends inwardly and forwardly from the door left hand side member 13 at a pitched angle A of about 2 so as to be in substantial alignment with the offset portion 67. it will also be noted that the track grooves 44 and 44' are substantially coextensive with the opening of the service area or chamber 18 so as to extend just beyond the inner side wall 69.

In this way when the movable panel 38 is in its closed position, the outer pins 54 engage the end 74 of the second track 44 terminating the sliding movement of the panel 38 before inner pins 52 contact the end 76 of offset parallel portions 67 of tracks 42, thereby locating the fixed and movablepair of panels in side-by-side relationship. This closed panel arrangement provides a defined vertically extending space 78 between the panel inner edges 62 and 72 such that the inwardly offset flange 60 is coextensive with space 78 so as to underlie the fixed panel inner edge 72 and provide an uninterrupted frontal coverage appearance by the panels.

lnitial sliding movement of the movable panel 38 by means of pressure exerted inwardly on the handle member 80 causes the inner pins 52 to move from the offset track portion 67 through the 45 diagonal track .portion 66 to kick-away or clear the panel edge 62 from the fixed panel edge 72. The diagonal track portion makes connection with first main track section 42 which extends in substantially parallel relation to groove means 40 for locating panel 38 in spaced inward relation behind the fixed panel 36. By virtue of the first main track 42 being pitched inwardly and rearwardly at an angle B of about 5 with respect to an imaginary vertical transverse plane it will be seen that the outer face 64 of the panel 38 is caused to keep falling away from the fixed edge 72 to enable the panel 38 to be moved rearwardly and behind the fixed panel 36. During closing of the movable panel 38 the reverse action takes place with the pitched track grooves 44 acting to smoothly slide the inner pins 52 back through the offset track groove portions 66 and 67.

While the embodiment of the present invention constitutes a preferred form. it is to be understood that other forms might be adopted.

, I We claim:

1. in a refrigerator cabinet having an insulated door for closing a compartment therein, said insulated door having a recessed chamber in the outer shell thereof, a pair of vertically spaced horizontally extending top and bottom structural members extending between the side edges of said door so as to define the upper and lower extremities of said chamber, a fixed panel and a movable panel located inside-by-side relation between said structural members such that said panels have their opposed inner edges spaced apart a defined distance, said movable panel normally closing said chamber. means for mounting said movable panel for horizontal sliding movement between its chamber closed position and an open position in which it underlies said fixed panel, said mounting means comprising first and second pairs of mirror image track grooves in each of said structural members, said movable panel including an integral inwardly offset flange formed along its inner edge and coextensive therewith so as to underlie said fixed panel inner edge whereby said offset flange bridges the space between said fixed and movable panels, said movable panel having outer follower means carried by the upper and lower edges thereof for movement in said second track grooves, said offset flange having inner follower means carried by the upper and lower edges thereof for movement in said first track grooves, said first track grooves having outwardly offset ends adjacent said fixed panel inner edge for receiving said offset flange follower means when said movable panel is in its closed position, said first track grooves positioned in spaced relation rearwardly of said fixed panel and pitched at a predetermined angle outwardly and rearwardly from said first track grooves outwardly offset ends. whereby upon initial sliding movement of said movable panel to its service area open position said inner follower means move from said offset ends of said first track grooves causing said movable panel inner edge to clear said fixed panel inner edge, and whereby upon continued sliding movement the pitched angle of said first track grooves allows said movable panel to clear said fixed panel inner edge and slide in an uninterrupted manner to its open position behind said fixed panel.

2. In a refrigerator cabinet having an insulated door comprising an outer shell and an inner liner with the spaced there-between filled with insulating material for closing a compartment of the refrigerator, said insulating door having a plurality of walls forming a chamber providing a recessed service area, said insulating door having an opening in its outer shell providing access to said chamber, said chamber having one side adjacent one edge of said access door, a pair of vertically spaced horizontally extending top and bottom track rails extending between the side edges of said door so as to define the upper and lower extremities of said chamber, a fixed panel and a movable panel located in side-byside position between said rails with said panels having their inner opposed vertically extending edges spaced apart a defined distance, said movable panel normally closing said chamber opening, means for mounting said movable panel for sliding movement between its normally closed position and its open position behind said fixed panel, said mounting means comprising first and second track grooves in each of said top and bottom track rails in opposed mirror image symmetry formed in said rails, said first track grooves positioned in spaced relation behind said fixed panel and pitched at a predetermined angle of about 5 inwardly and rearwardly from said fixed panel inner edge, said second track grooves positioned behind said movable panel front face in its closed position so as to be in alignment with said offset portion, said movable panel including an integral inwardly offset flange formed along said movable panel inner vertical edge and coextensive therewith so as to underlie said fixed panel inner edge whereby said offset flange bridges the space between said fixed and movable panel inner edges, said movable panel having outer pins carried by the upper and lower edges thereof for movement in said second track grooves, said movable panel offset flange having inner pins carried by the upper and lower edges thereof for sliding movement in said first track grooves, said first track grooves having outwardly offset ends adjacent said fixed panel inner edge for receiving said inner flange pins when said movable panel is in its closed position, whereby upon initial sliding of said movable panel to said chamber open position said inner pins move from said offset ends into said first track grooves causing said movable panel inner vertical edge to clear said fixed panel inner vertical edge, and whereby upon continued sliding movement the pitched angle of said first track grooves allows said movable panel to slide in an uninterrupted manner to its open position behind said fixed panel.

3. In a refrigerator cabinet having an insulating door comprising an outer outwardly curved shell and an inner liner with the space therebetween filled with insulating material for closing a compartment of the refrigerator, said insulating door having a plurality of walls forming a chamber providing a recessed service area, said door having an opening in its outer shell providing access to said chamber, said chamber having its outer side adjacent one outer edge of said access door and said chamber having its opposite inner side positioned intermediate said chamber outer edge and the vertical cen-terline of said insulated door, a pair of vertically spaced horizontally extending top and bottom track rails extending between the side edges of said door so as to define the upper and lower extremities of said chamber, a fixed panel and a movable panel located in side-by-side position between said rails with said panels having their inner opposed vertically extending edges spaced apart a defined distance, said movable panel being outwardly curved to substantially conform with said outwardly curved shell, said movable panel normally closing said chamber opening, means for mounting said movable panel for sliding movement between its normally closed position and its open position behind said fixed panel, said mounting means comprising first and second linear track grooves in each of said top and bottom track rails in opposed mirror image symmetry in said rails, said first track grooves positioned in spaced relation behind said fixed panel and pitched at a predetermined angle of about 5 outwardly and rearwardly with respect to said fixed panel inner edge, said second track grooves pitched at a predetermined angle inwardly and forwardly with respect to said door outer edge so as to be in alignment with the offset portion of said first track grooves; said movable panel including an integral inwardly offset flange formed along said movable panel inner vertical edge and coextensive therewith so as to underlie said fixed panel inner edge whereby said offset flange bridges the space between said fixed and movable panel inner edges, said movable panel having outer pins carried by the upper and lower edges thereof for movement in said second track grooves, said movable panel offset flange having inner pins carried by the upper and lower edges thereof for sliding movement in said first track grooves, said first track grooves having outwardly offset ends adjacent said fixed panel inner edge for receiving said inner flange pins when said movable panel is in its closed position, whereby upon initial sliding of said movable panel to said chamber open position said inner pins move from said offset ends into said first track grooves causing said movable panel inner vertical edge to clear said fixed panel inner vertical edge, and whereby upon continued sliding movement said pitched angle of said first track grooves allows the outer face of said curved movable panel to clear said fixed panel inner edge and slide in an uninterrupted manner to its open position behind said fixed panel.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2545749 *Mar 1, 1948Mar 20, 1951Walter H PuschRefrigerator cabinet structure
US2899252 *Jan 18, 1957Aug 11, 1959 Cabinet with sliding flush doors
US2992460 *Mar 26, 1959Jul 18, 1961Hentges Harold TSliding door construction
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4046438 *Aug 30, 1976Sep 6, 1977General Motors CorporationVertical sliding closure panel for refrigeration door
US5100213 *Oct 1, 1991Mar 31, 1992Amana Refrigeration Inc.Vertical sliding chiller compartment door
US5806942 *Dec 26, 1996Sep 15, 1998White Consolidated Industries, Inc.Dishwasher door and decorator panel assembly
US5816672 *Nov 28, 1995Oct 6, 1998Apple Computer, Inc.Three-position locking mechanism
US6019447 *Aug 25, 1998Feb 1, 2000Maytag CorporationRefrigerator with varying width fresh food and freezer compartments
US6132019 *Aug 11, 1999Oct 17, 2000Silicon Graphics, Inc.Door assembly for a computer
US6452788 *Feb 16, 2000Sep 17, 2002Micron Technology, Inc.Computer housing with expansion bay cover and methods for operating expansion bay covers
US6467859 *Dec 7, 2000Oct 22, 2002Specialty Equipment Companies, Inc.Environmentally controlled cabinet with sliding door within hinged door
US6590765 *Apr 8, 2002Jul 8, 2003Micron Technology, Inc.Computer housing with expansion bay cover and methods for operating expansion bay covers
US6641238 *Sep 27, 2002Nov 4, 2003Carrier Commercial Refrigeration, Inc.Environmentally controlled cabinet with sliding door within hinged door
US6651449Jul 15, 2002Nov 25, 2003Maytag CorporationWater bottle fill button for refrigerators
US6882280 *Jul 15, 2002Apr 19, 2005Maytag CorporationElectronic message center for a refrigerator
US7316121Apr 28, 2004Jan 8, 2008Lg Electronics Inc.Dispenser of icemaker in refrigerator
US7383689Aug 8, 2007Jun 10, 2008Lg Electronics Inc.Dispenser of icemaker in refrigerator
US7455085Jun 4, 2004Nov 25, 2008Whirlpool CorporationWater dispenser for refrigerator freezers
US7628032Jun 5, 2008Dec 8, 2009Lg Electronics Inc.Dispenser of icemaker in refrigerator
US7757732Apr 14, 2008Jul 20, 2010Whirlpool CorporationWater dispenser for refrigerator freezers
US7793690Apr 14, 2008Sep 14, 2010Whirlpool CorporationWater dispenser for refrigerator freezers
US7997452Jan 18, 2008Aug 16, 2011Lg Electronics Inc.Refrigerator related technology
US8016160Jan 18, 2008Sep 13, 2011Lg Electronics Inc.Refrigerator related technology
US8336331 *Jul 12, 2007Dec 25, 2012Lg Electronics Inc.Refrigerator
US8434320Oct 21, 2009May 7, 2013Lg Electronics Inc.Dispenser of icemaker in refrigerator
US20100043479 *Jul 12, 2007Feb 25, 2010Lg Electronics Inc.Refrigerator
CN102048441BOct 28, 2010Dec 12, 2012合肥美的荣事达电冰箱有限公司Juicer and refrigerator with same
Classifications
U.S. Classification312/139.2, 312/116, 49/130, 49/127, 312/350
International ClassificationF25D23/02, E06B7/32
Cooperative ClassificationF25D2400/18, F25D23/021, E06B7/32
European ClassificationF25D23/02A, E06B7/32